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London • 02Arena • Dubs • Kontinen & Peers Go Back-to-Back With Another ATP Finals Doubles Tennis Title • Thank You Nitto!

Finland’s Henri Kontinen (L) and Australia’s John Peers (R) hold their trophy after winning the doubles championship at the ATP Finals in London, Britain, 19 November 2017. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL



By Ricky Dimon


Henri Kontinen and John Peers became the first team since Bob and Mike Bryan to win two consecutive doubles titles at the year-end championship when they beat Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 6-2 on Sunday afternoon. Kontinen and Peers picked up their second ATP Finals trophy in just two seasons together after prevailing in one hour and 10 minutes.


“It’s nice to come back and defend our title,” Peers assured. “Yeah, it feels good to go on holidays after a win.”


“(It’s) pretty amazing to win back-to-back,” Kontinen added. “Hopefully we’ll play well here again next year.”


One of the more interesting situations involving this week’s doubles event came in a round-robin match featuring Melo and Kubot vs. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. With a 2-0 record going into it, Melo and Kubot had already clinched a spot in the semifinals. Murray and Soares, on the other hand, had to win in order to advance. A loss by the British-Brazilian duo would have sent Bob and Mike Bryan through to the semis.


There was at least something on the line for Kubot and Melo: their semifinal opponent. With a win, they would earn the No. 1 seed out of Group A and play the No. 2 seeds from Group B, Henri Kontinen and John Peers. A loss wound propel them–as a No. 2 seed–to a date with Group B No. 1 seeds Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus. Harrison and Venus, a far less established team that Kontinen and Peers, had upset the defending London champions during round-robin competition.


So aside from missing out on additional ranking points and prize money, it was arguably beneficial for Melo and Kubot to lose their final round-robin match.


And that is exactly what they did–with plenty of room to spare, too. Showing little interest in the contest, the Brazilian-Polish pairing fell to Murray and Soares 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes. Melo and Kubot won a laughable 26 percent (5 of 19) of their second-serve points and were broken a ridiculous five times in nine service games.


Unsurprisingly, they looked completely different less than 24 hours later and destroyed Harrison and Venus 6-1, 6-4 after one hour and four minutes in Saturday’s first semifinal. They did not get broken a single time.


Had Soares been in the same situation as Melo and Kubot, he said he would not have thought about trying to arrange a semifinal opponent.


“I think when you overthink the situation, you end up playing worse” he explained. “If you think too much about who you’re playing tomorrow, you might not come back tomorrow; you might lose today. So for me, I’m not really into that ‘what’s better next’ before playing my match.


“Marcelo, he [knew] his situation. If he wants to choose (his opponent), he can choose…. I don’t think it’s worth it to risk that, because everyone that’s here is playing pretty good tennis. The teams that qualify, it’s because they (are) doing something right. For me, in my view, it’s not worth to risk it what you can get right now for what you might have tomorrow.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Finland’s Henri Kontinen (R) and Australia’s John Peers (back) in action against Britain’s Jamie Murray and Brazil’s Bruno Soares during their men’s doubles semi final match of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London, Britain, 18 November 2017. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

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